How Supply Chain Leaders are Attracting and Retaining Talent in 2024

Companies that recognize the need for this talent and invest in the growth of their employees will position themselves for success as global supply chains become more complex.

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Benefits, rewards, impact—they're just some of the reasons a career in supply chain is attracting top talent, a survey of young supply chain professionals under 30 shows. But while recruiting is important, reducing turnover is equally critical, as competition for high performing candidates intensifies. Mentorship, training and career development will play a big role in employee retention in the future.

As supply chain continues to transform—driven by innovations in AI technology and sustainability—CHROs, CSOs and ESG officers will work more closely together to build a strong pipeline of new talent.

But what strategies can organizations use to attract and retain young supply chain professionals?

Partner With Technical Institutions

The number of students achieving a technical or two-year degree in supply chain has more than doubled in the last seven years, a survey of young supply professionals reveals. There’s been a notable shift away from extended certifications, the report notes. Entry-level candidates see better career advancement opportunities from shorter, more specialized courses in areas such as procurement, strategic sourcing and inventory management.

Savvy employers looking to grow their candidate pipeline are responding by forming new partnerships with technical and non-traditional higher education institutions. For example, U.S. logistics firm Penske has built college and university partnerships in locations near its larger facilities. Meanwhile, retailer Macy’s has rolled out a pilot program to recruit high school graduates for supply chain roles, offering tuition, books and fees for a range of training including college accreditations.

Some organizations have eliminated college education requirements altogether from entry-level roles, as they look to increase diversity and focus on candidates’ skills and capabilities instead. Skills-based hiring is a top trend for 2024, cited in a Korn Ferry report on talent acquisition strategies.

Communicate ESG Values

ESG is a major focus for Gen Z. So little wonder young professionals looking to make an impact are pursuing careers in supply chain, assisting with renewable energy options, more diversified suppliers, and other ESG issues. Gen Z workers also weigh social issues and wellbeing heavily in their decision-making processes and seek companies that align with their own personal values.

Supply chain presents an opportunity to make a difference. Experts say that organizations should be enthusiastically communicating this to entry-level candidates so they can consider a career in supply chain or supply chain management (SCM).

And as organizations continue to build a compelling narrative around supply chain to attract and retain young professionals, people leaders in the industry expect to see CHROs, CSOs, and ESG executives collaborate more closely together.

Focus on Pay, Rewards and Benefits

Top talent comes at a cost. And while communicating the values of ESG is a crucial part of the role for recruiters, young supply chain professionals say that compensation is one of the top reasons—alongside career development—that they look for a new job.

Pay and benefits, advancement opportunities, and level of flexibility (say, remote or hybrid work models) all can influence employees to look elsewhere.

To reduce turnover, employers must ensure that their total rewards packages are competitive. As part of this for example, third party logistics (3PL) company C.H. Robinson will be rolling out pay transparency for U.S. and Canadian employees in 2024.

Spotlight Career Development

Young professionals want to be continuously heard, supported, and given opportunities for growth. Nurturing this pipeline with better benefits and development opportunities is crucial to retaining high performers.

But mentorship and guidance from senior leaders is just as important. To keep Gen Z meaningfully engaged, experts suggest that organizations provide a clear to work in different areas of the business. Skill variety creates a meaningful work experience for Gen Z, which is critical for retention.

On-the-job cross functional projects can expose employees to different parts of the supply chain, giving young professionals the opportunity to interact with other product lines, expand skill sets and be exposed to future opportunities.

The supply chain sector will continue to evolve, demanding innovation, connectivity, technology and solutions—all of which rely on a strong pipeline of highly skilled talent. Companies that recognize the need for this talent and invest in the growth of their employees will position themselves for success as global supply chains become more complex.